Off in a cloud of dust (and forgotten stuff)

By Mir
September 3, 2010

I am… a wee bit neurotic about traveling. Try to contain your shock. I am a creature of habit and leaving my natural environment and schedule is always a bit of a jolt to my system.

I also find having to be in a certain place at a certain time a little bit stressful, and once you factor in traffic and the TSA, you have a perfect storm for me to lie awake the night before a trip, mentally calculating what time we need to leave under any of twelve different circumstances (only ten of them involve a crisis, though).

The advantage to this, I suppose, is that I generally board the plane I’m supposed to be on, stow my carry-on in the bin above and my purse under the seat in front of me, take out a book, and then fall asleep and drool all over myself. It makes the actual trip part go by pretty quickly.

Anyway. I’ve spent most of this week trying to get caught up on work so that I can leave today with a clear conscience. Why this is a Thing That I Do, I have no idea; I mean, it’s not like I’m not taking a computer and planning to work while I’m away, but whatever. I was trying to get most of my work done.

This morning I had to spend a lot of time doing a compare and contrast on my TSA-approved-sized toiletries so that I could finish packing. How much toothpaste was in THIS little tube? How about this OTHER one? Wait, how come this one is white and that one is green, aren’t they the same toothpaste? Huh. This one has PRONAMEL, whatever that is. Sounds strong. And also somewhat porny. And I’m not sure I want to be packing porny toothpaste, particularly when TSA seems to love searching my stuff. Okay, plain ol’ toothpaste it is, then.

Some of you will be relieved to hear, however, that I decided not to smuggle my hair gel on this trip. I actually put some in a smaller container… I just felt like maybe that particular bit of luck has run out.

In the meantime, I am positively thrilled to be leaving muggy, sweltering Atlanta for the cooler mountain air of Denver! What a relief that’s going to be! Well, that’s what I thought until I checked the weather forecast. Currently the weather in Denver is… hotter than it is, here. As always, my timing is IMPECCABLE.

So I would pack three things and then take two back out and then put everything back in and add a few more things. This is how I do it. I’m going to be gone for three days so I need twelve different outfits I’m not going to wear. All the better to make me forget something I actually do need, of course.

The kids are leaving with their dad tomorrow morning, but I’ll be gone when they get home from school today. Chickadee greeted this news with her trademarked care and compassion: “Well, Otto better pick me up at 5:00, then, if you’re not gonna be here to do it.” Monkey was just a tad more concerned, first asking me at breakfast why he can’t come wiiiiith meeeeee (I pointed out that his dad might have a problem with that), then insisting that I shouldn’t leave until after they do, tomorrow. He seemed unimpressed when I mentioned that the latter option was a great idea except for the part where 99% of my life is already sculpted around his and his sister’s needs, and really, I can leave town a few hours before they do and I’m pretty sure he’ll survive.

At this point I’m packed and ready and only somewhat convinced I’ve forgotten something crucial.



Oh! Turns out that I did almost forget to post to Five Full Plates. Maybe that can be my one and only thing I forgot. Hopefully.

I have to go check my suitcase again. Just in case.


  1. Otto

    The Emo Dog is concerned you will forget to pack her. She would love the thin air of Colorado.


  2. Rini

    You know what you need? A trip to Europe!

    Drag that suitcase up and down the stairs to the subway a few thousand times and you will learn to pack light!

    Worked for me, anyway. ;)

  3. elz

    Have fun. Colorado is lovely right now. We call it North Texas here. I’m sure the Colorado Tourist Board loves that. I’m slightly disappointed you didn’t pack the porny toothpaste-give the TSA folks something to talk about. Next time I travel, I’m packing a pair of pink, fluffy handcuffs. you know, keep ’em on their toes!

  4. Jen

    You will have NO problem with the weather here in Denver. Seriously, the humidity is non-existent. My year-long chapped hands are proof of that. Yes, it’s bakingly hot (happens when you’re a mile closer to the sun), but it’s so low in humidity you can sit outside a cafe in the shade and it’s truly bliss. Have a safe trip!

  5. Chuck

    Have a great trip, Mir! I predict you will emerge victorious from your battle with the TSA dragons

  6. Crista

    I have *finally*, as I am now quickly approaching my 40th birthday, gotten packing down to an almost exact science. Usually the only clean clothes we come home with now are the ones I brought as “extra”. And “extra” does not mean what it used to. It means 2 extra underwears each, one extra pair of socks, and one extra shirt. But the first time I don’t pack those extras will be the time we need them. I am convinced.
    One time I forgot to pack socks for myself. And ever since I was a little girl packing for a sleepover, I *always* forget pajamas. Apparently I was born without the ability to remember that. Fortunately, I always pack a t-shirt and comfy shorts for “hanging out” and usually end up sleeping in those.
    Have a great trip! We are talking about moving to Fort Collins next year, which is about an hour from Denver. I don’t know why I felt compelled to tell you that, but there you have it.
    See ya on the flip side :)

  7. Mary

    Mir, I think it was “Love Thursday” that you forgot! ;-)

  8. navhelowife

    have a great trip, and enjoy Denver! It can’t be anymore humid than here (I’m only about an hour and a half away from hotlanta, so I feel your pain :) )

  9. Melissa

    But it’s DRY here! It feels SO MUCH BETTER!
    Sorry, it’s a knee-jerk reaction. They train us to say it. Truly – it is 54 degrees here right now. Of course it will be 92 by 3 pm…all to say, I’m excited you’ll be in our town, and now I will stop.

  10. Em

    I always have a list of things I must do before I go away. Some of it makes sense (clean house is better to come home to, laundry so all I have to do is what was used on the trip) but why do I need to have all of the school supplies bought before a weekend trip that ends a week before school starts? Why do my legs have to be shaved? I can bring that stuff with me. Why do I have to return library books and pick up dry cleaning? Our last trip (this week, two nights away) meant that first I had to take apart my son’s crib and get his big boy bed all set up and my other son’s bunk beds put together. I guess because getting five people out the door with everything they need for two days and NOT with a bag full of toys wasn’t enough to do.

  11. Kayt

    But it’s a dry heat here, so it doesn’t make you want to kill yourself. Or is that just me? Humidity makes me weep, I hate it so much. And it was in the 70’s yesterday, it was heavenly!

  12. dad

    There is a void in my psyche where “Love Thursday” was supposed to go.

    Have a fun filled and guilt free trip.

  13. jessica

    Qtips.. dont forget the qtips, I did that last time I went out of town and I was going crazy. I never realized how much I use them. Ears, eye makeup and eye liner … those are handy little boogers

  14. Katie in MA

    I thought of you this morning when I saw that one of our passengers had shut down the Miami airport for over SEVEN hours! I figured with your luck, that’s where you were heading. :)

  15. daysgoby

    I’m ASTONISHED that L LET you zip up the suitcase without inserting her furriness into one of your shoes or something.

    Also, because I’ve idly wondered this before: Doesn’t your ex live elsewhere? (Your old location-ish?)
    Does C rash when she’s there? My brother moved to Florida and was plagued with an odd, itchier-than-sin rash that lasted until he moved back to Michigan. He’s just not meant for Southern climes, I guess.

  16. Hannah

    I went on a business trip last week. I felt terrible and guilty and horrid (first time ever leaving my tiny people – ages 2 and 11 months – behind for more than a few hours). About an hour into my (7 hr) drive, just as I was settling into a groove and finally convincing myself that I was *not* a terrible person and that I *could* do this … I realized that I’d left my suitcase (and all of the clothes I had just bought for the trip) on my bed. Forty-five minutes later, my husband met me at a gas station, and I had a whole new reason to feel like crap on my drive to VA. All of that to say: It doesn’t matter how many times you check the suitcase; just make sure you actually *take* the suitcase.

  17. annette

    So,none of my business, but who are you going to go see? And, why can’t you come to St. Louis and visit me?

  18. Little Bird

    The best advice I can give when it comes to packing is, mix and match clothing, and the barest necessities when it comes to toiletries. Toothpaste? It can be purchased when you arrive. The same for soaps and shampoos (unless you use some super-fancy shampoo designed for curly hair that is damned near impossible to find. Not that I would know about that)
    Of course when I travel it’s usually by train so I NEED to take that toothpaste. 24 hour train rides include at least one toothbrushing experience.

  19. shadymama

    i hail from denver. hooray denver! i’m actually not that big of a fan, because…i grew up there? but i like it cuz my mom’s there and she ROCKS. what are you up to in denver? may i suggest (if you have time) you check out swing dancing and a poetry slam at the Mercury Cafe on 21st and California *or* go to the hippest coffee joint EVER, Paris on the Platte, off of 15th and platte. they have the very most delicious food and gluten free options as well, if memory serves me.

    also there’s a wine bar attached.

  20. Anna

    I assume you’re visiting pretty friends, from what I remember about other trips. It will be fun knowing that Mir is in MY state! woot!

    And yeah, the weather sucks this weekend. But by Monday, it will be beautiful again!

  21. mamaspeak

    I’m not positive, but I hear they have STORES in Denver. So you could purchase anything you might have forgotten if you truly need it. #justsaying ;-)

  22. Anna

    Wow. Someone besides me packs 12 outfits for 3 days! I didn’t think there was anyone else on the planet like me!?!

  23. badgermama

    Ha! I am the same way about travel and try to pack everything so that I can get it out when I need it without digging around. I would just magically produce STUFF like a magician whenever it was needed. Why doesn’t this ever work!?

    My other packing for a trip fantasy is that I would have a travel bag with exactly the right things in it. Instead of gutting my usual things, I’d have a little set of bathroom stuff, medicine, chargers for all my gadgets, and basic stuff already packed with a sort of inventory list taped in there. This has never happened either but a woman can dream.

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